Licensing of gambling activities in Greece, including online gambling

The main aspects of gambling activities in Greece are regulated by law 4002/2011. The provisions of this law establish the basic rules and conditions that must be observed when providing services in the sphere of gambling.

So, according to the above-mentioned law, supervision, monitoring and control of gambling operators in the territory of the country are carried out by a specially created independent administrative body called the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC), which consists of 9 members appointed by the Ministry of Finance.

It should be noted that the Greek state enterprise ОРАР has a monopoly on the provision of online lottery services until 2020, and in the sphere of online casino - until 2030. At the same time, to date, legislation in the sphere of licensing of gambling activities, including concerning online gambling, is significantly changing.

According to preliminary data, it can be stated that the approximate cost of the license for online gambling operators will cost about 3,000,000 euros, while the license will be issued for the period of 5 years. The minimum tax rate for such operators will be 1 000 000 euros.

Thus, it is expected that new operators of online games will be able to enter the Greek market in the near future, but the website of the central regulator has not yet placed more exact requirements for obtaining gambling licenses. Despite the foregoing, there are already requirements for people tending to conduct commercial activities in the gambling sphere through the placement of slot machines.

Let’s consider these requirements in more detail

Gambling license

In order to obtain the license for gambling (through slot machines), it is necessary to submit application to the Hellenic Gaming Commission, which includes the applicant's data and the number of certified gaming machines that perform operations in accordance with the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s decision No. 130/2 of 11/18/2014 (B 3225) "On the establishment of control over the technical characteristics of slot machines".

The gambling operators can be legal entities that are taxed in accordance with the general provisions of law 2238/1994 (art.151). Licensing of electronic technical and entertainment games is not allowed for non-commercial legal entities.

Individuals conducting business management may apply for or have the license if the following conditions are met:

  • natural persons should not be convicted or otherwise punished for such serious crime as theft, embezzlement, fraud, disposal of stolen property, extortion, forgery of documents, active or passive corruption, causing serious harm to health, reticence or cover-up of a crime, currency offences, a crime against personal freedom, a crime against sexual freedom, crimes against the exploitation of sexual life and crimes in the sphere of drug trafficking, weapons, explosives, as well as in the field of tax evasion,
  • natural persons should not be convicted of a serious crime or otherwise punished for committing a crime in the field of gambling.

After obtaining the license, operators are required to notify the Hellenic Gaming Commission directly and without delay about the following information:

  • availability of certified slot machines, including their permissions;
  • about the qualified games used in these gaming machines;
  • confirmation of how the operator acquired the legal rights to use slot machines and games used in operating activities (purchase, leasing, transfer of rights of use, etc.);
  • on the movement of slot machines, between stores or places of storage and/or repair.

All this information is provided electronically through the management and control of the operating system for the certification of electronic slot machines.

To issue the license or renew the license terms,it is necessary to pay in advance the annual fee for the use of electronic slot machines, depending on the number of gaming machines included in the license.

Payment of the fee is carried out under the responsibility of the operator, not later than on the date of expiry of one year from the date of the initial payment. Failure to pay the annual fee implies failure to grant or refusal to renew the license.

Certification of games

Any game that must be installed or is installed in certified slot machines and is represented in certified stores should be certified by the Hellenic Gaming Commission.

Certification is granted to producers or importers, or, in exceptional cases, for those who have a legal title or right to game and file an application in accordance with the provisions of the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s Decision No. 130/2 of 18/11/2014 (B 3225).

In Greece, games that have already been certified by national authorities, recognized by the international or European organizations or having certification of the organizations with which the Hellenic Gaming Commission has signed a recognition agreement are also recognized in Greece.

The game must fulfill the following conditions in order to become certified for slot machines:

  • The game should be a computer program that is included or installed in slot machines (hardware), which, when used exclusively or primarily, is affected by the technical or mental abilities of the player such as, for example, knowledge, skills and preferences.
  • At any stage of the game, the game should be exclusively technical and entertaining one and should not be varied during all stages of the game or be hazardous.
  • Have restrictions on the age qualification when using in accordance with the Pan-European Game Information – «PEGI».
  • In case the game has no age limit, its contents must be verified by the manufacturer or importer, or by those who have legal ownership or the right to game, in terms of descriptive indications relating to the content of the game (for example, evidence of violence, abuse, pornography, discrimination, drug use, etc.).
  • Have all the information, instructions and other information related to the use of this game.

In order to obtain the certificate, it is necessary to submit application to the Hellenic Gaming Commission. When applying, you must pay the state fee for consideration of the application (50 euros for one game), as well as a one-time fee for issuing the certificate (30 euros per game).

Certification of slot machines

Each slot machine installed in a specially designed room must be certified by the Hellenic Gaming Commission.

Separate certification is required for each gaming machine. Certification is granted to the manufacturer, importer, and, in some cases, to the legitimate owners of the slot machine in accordance with the provisions of the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s Decision No. 130/2 of 18.11.2014 (B 3225).

Computers are considered and treated as slot machines if they have software applications, certified games (identified above) and they are used for the professional gambling activities.

In order to obtain certification, slot machine must be marked with CE or equivalent if it is produced by a member of the European Free Trade Association that is a participant in the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA) or in Turkey, which products are covered by the mutual recognition clause.

In order to obtain certificate, it is necessary to submit application to the Hellenic Gaming Commission. When submitting the application, the state fee is charged for consideration of the application (50 euros for one slot machine), and one-time fee for issuing the certificate is also paid (20 euros for one slot machine).

Each certified slot machine ready for use can be equipped with exclusively certified games. Any change to the installed certified slot machine must be communicated to the Hellenic Gaming Commission.

Each certified slot machine can perform legitimate operations with the indication of:

  • The authentication code of the slot machine issued by the Hellenic Gaming Commission.
  • Unique serial number (serial number) of the slot machine, specifying the manufacturer.
  • Manufacturer's name.
  • Logo of the Hellenic Gaming Commission.
  • Website where certified games installed in the gaming machine, authentication codes for such games, their age limits are registered.

The withdrawal of certified slot machines from the market is possible only after prior notice to the Hellenic Gaming Commission, which, in turn, removes the slot machine from the corresponding register.

Certification of premises for installation of slot machines

In order to install gaming machines in a particular room, it is required to obtain certification of such premises.

The certificate is issued by the Hellenic Gaming Commission at the request of the operator in accordance with the provisions of the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s Decision No. 130/2 of 11/18/2014 (B 3225).

The area of the premises where the slot machines are planned to be installed must comply with the legislative requirements.

In exceptional cases, slot machines may be located on the territory of premises where other commercial activities, not gambling, are conducted.

Premises in which it is allowed to place slot machines are divided into categories, namely:

  • Type Α`- for premises created solely for placement of gambling machines and carrying out gambling commercial activities.
  • Type Γ`- for premises of mixed type, in which, in addition to gambling activities, other types of commercial activities may be carried out.
  • Type Δ `- for premises in sea vessels engaged on or running domestic or international voyages. Each vessel is considered as a separate mixed area, provided that a special room for slot machines is placed on the vessel and such room meet the legislative requirements.

The main manager is assigned for each certified room, who bears joint and several responsibility with the operator on the issues of compliance of the premises with legislation and rules.

The main manager may be an individual aged 25-60 years, permanently residing in Greece.

The manager must meet the following conditions:

  • To be a citizen of a member state of the European Union.
  • Should not be convicted of a criminal offense or punished for theft, embezzlement, fraud, disposal of stolen property, extortion, forgery of documents, active or passive corruption, causing serious harm to health, reticence or cover-up of a crime, currency offences, a crime against personal freedom, a crime against sexual freedom, crimes against the exploitation of sexual life and crimes in the sphere of drug trafficking, weapons, explosives, as well as in the field of tax evasion.
  • Should not be convicted of a serious crime or otherwise punished for committing a crime in the field of gambling.
  • Should have at least secondary-level education or its equivalent and fulfill own military obligations.
  • Should be fluent in Greek.

In all the certified premises:

  • It is forbidden to install and operate uncertified games and slot machines.
  • To place each slot machine, it is necessary to allocate at least 3 (three) square meters.
  • A sign identifying the type of premises should be posted in a prominent place at the entrance to the premises.

To receive the certification of the premises, it is necessary to pay a state fee of 50 euros (per one room) for consideration of the application, and also pay a fee of 80 euros per one room every year.

Payment of fees should be made no later than on the date of expiration of one year from the date of initial payment. In case of untimely payment of annual fees, certification will be revoked.

Conclusion: the legislation of Greece is rapidly developing, and the state monopoly ОРАР will soon share the market with other participants. In order to be able to carry out gambling activities, a special license must necessarily be obtained, with each installed slot machine and the game installed on it, as well as the premises where the slot machines are located, must be certified by the Hellenic Gaming Commission